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Term: King, Gen. Rufus (1814-1876)

Definition:

b. New York, New York, January 26, 1814
d. New York, October 13, 1876

Gen. Rufus King brought together the regiments known as the Iron Brigade and commanded them at the start of the Civil War. He was also an influential Wisconsin newspaper editor and political leader before the war.

Early Life

King was born in New York City and entered West Point in 1829, at age 15. After graduating in 1833, he served as an engineer in Virginia under Robert E. Lee and on the Great Lakes. He left the military to edit the Albany Evening Journal and served as Adjutant General of New York, 1840-1844.

He came to Milwaukee in September 1845 to edit the Milwaukee Sentinel. Under King's management, the Sentinel became a strong advocate first for the anti-slavery Whig Party and later for the Republicans. Besides editing that paper until 1861, he served in the 1848 Constitutional Convention, was Milwaukee's superintendent of schools, and was one of the first regents of the University of Wisconsin.

Civil War Service

Before the war broke out in April 1861, President Lincoln appointed King as ambassador to the Vatican. He was in New York boarding the boat for Europe when he heard of the attack on Fort Sumter. King rushed back to Washington, D.C., and was commissioned a brigadier general, with responsibility over the first brigade of Wisconsin volunteers that could be raised. He assembled them outside Washington over the summer of 1861, when he became a close friend of President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward.

King’s brigade was made up of the regiments that would later be called the Iron Brigade. He commanded it during the battles of Fredericksburg, Gainesville, South Mountain and Second Bull Run. The public blamed the series of Union defeats in 1862, in part, on his leadership. King was relieved of his command in 1863. His son later claimed that the charges were undeserved and that the dishonor ruined his health.

Later Life

After leaving the military King was reappointed ambassador to the Vatican for four years. In 1865 he was instrumental in capturing John Surratt, thought to be one of the conspirators in Lincoln's assassination who had escaped to Europe. After returning to the United States in 1867, King worked as a tax collector in New York City until his health failed and he became an invalid. He died in New York in 1876.

Links to Learn More

Sketch by E.B. Quiner on page 987 of his book, "Military History of Wisconsin" (Chicago, 1866)

Memoir by Gen. King's son

View original documents related to Gen. Rufus King

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); King, Charles. "Rufus King: Soldier, Editor, and Statesman." Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 4, no. 4 (1921); Dictionary of American Biography]

123 records found

Kabler, Beatrice Ann Parks. 1928-
Kaczmarek, Jane
Kading, Charles August 1874 - 1956
Kafka, Lawrence J. 1898
Kahl, William C. 1908
Kahlenberg, Louis Albrecht 1870 - 1941
Kanavas, Theodore J. 1961
Kander, Lizzie Black, 1858-1940
Kaokias
Karlen, Jacob 1840 - 1920
Kaskaskias
Kasten Jr., Robert W. 1942
Kasten, William A. 1956
Kastenmeier, Robert W. 1924
Katzer, Frederick Xavier 1844 - 1903
Kaufert, Dean R. 1957
Kaufman, Eugene S. 1922
Kaun, Hugo Wilhelm Ludwig 1863 - 1932
Kavanaugh, William C. 1914
Kedrowski, David R. 1942
Kedzie, Neal J. 1956
Keegan, Jr., Earl 1921
Keep, Albert 1826 - 1907
Kellman, Norris J. 1898
Kellogg, Amherst Willoughby 1829 - 1923
Kellogg, Ansel Nash 1832 - 1886
Kellogg, Ansel Wales 1821 - 1870
Kellogg, Col. John A. (1828 - 1883)
Kellogg, Louise Phelps 1862 - 1942
Kellogg, Rufus Bela 1837 - 1891
Kelly, Patrick 1792 - 1858
Kelly, Patrick H. 1890
Kelso, Carol 1945
Kemper, Jackson 1789 - 1870
Kempster, Walter 1841 - 1918
Kendziorski, Casimir 1898
Kennan, Kossuth Kent (1852-1933)
Kennan, Thomas Lathrop 1827 - 1920
Kenyon, (Charles) Kyle (1924-1996)
Keokuk, Sauk chief, 1780?-1848.
Keppler, Ernest C. 1918
Kerkman, Samantha 1974
Kerwin, James Charles 1850 - 1921
Kessler, Frederick P. 1940
Kestell, Steve 1955
Keyes, Elisha Williams 1828 - 1910
Kickapoo Indians
Kickbush, August 1828 - 1901
Kieckhefer, Ferdinand August William 1852 - 1919
Kiekhoefer, William Henry 1883 - 1951
Kikapous
Kilataks
Kilbourn, Byron 1801 - 1870
Kilgore, Damon Y[Oung?] 1827 - 1888
Kimball, Alanson Mellen 1827 - 1913
Kimberly, John Alfred 1838 - 1928
Kincaid, Lloyd H. 1925
Kind, Ron 1963
King, Charles 1844 - 1933
King, Franklin Hiram 1848 - 1911
King, Gen. Rufus (1814-1876)
Kinney, Kathy 1954 -
Kinsman, Delos Oscar 1868 - 1948
Kintz, Milford C. 1903
Kinzie, John Harris 1803 - 1865
Kinzie, Juliette Augusta, 1806-1870
Kirby, Michael G. 1952
Kiskaouets
Kissel, Louis 1839 - 1908
Kitchigamick Indians
Kittle, William 1861 - 1942
Kleczka, Gerald D. 1943
Kleczka, Jerry 1943
Klicka, George H. 1934
Klingler, Emil F. (1887 - ?)
Klug, Scott L. 1953
Klusman, Judith 1956
Knapp, Gilbert 1798 - 1887
Knapp, John Holly [Jr.] 1825 - 1888
Kneeland, James 1816 - 1899
Kneeland, Moses 1809 - 1864
Knight, John Henry 1836 - 1903
Knowles, Robert P. 1916
Knowles, Warren P. 1908
Knowlton, James H. 1813 - 1879
Knowlton, Wiram 1816 - 1863
Knox, Randall S. 1949
Knutson, Milo G. 1918
Koenig, Joseph 1858 - 1929
Koeppen, George 1833 - 1897
Kohl, Herbert H. 1935
Kohler, John Michael 1844 - 1900
Kohler, Marie Christine 1876 - 1943
Kohler, Ruth Miriam [De Young] 1906 - 1953
Kohler, Walter Jodok 1875 - 1940
Kordus, Robert P. 1939
Korpela, Ernest J. 1936
Koss, Rudolph Alexander 1823 - 1894
Kostuck, John T. 1892
Kraut, Hans Baptiste 1881 - 1947
Krautbauer, Francis Xavier 1824 - 1885
Krawczyk, Judy 1939
Kreibich, Robin G. 1959
Kremers, Edward 1865 - 1941
Kreul, Richard 1924
Kreuser, James E. 1961
Kreutzer, Andrew Laurence 1862 - 1944
Krez, Conrad 1828 - 1897
Kronshage, Theodore Jr. 1869 - 1934
Krosnicki, Kathleen A. 1950
Krueger, Clifford W. 1918
Krug, Shirley 1958
Krumrey, Henry 1852 - 1922
Krusick, Peggy 1956
Kruszka, Michael 1860 - 1918
Kryszak, Mary [Olszewski] 1876 - 1945
Kumlien, Thure Ludwig Theodore 1819 - 1888
Kunde, Kenneth 1916
Kundig, Martin 1805 - 1879
Kunicki, Walter J. 1958
Kurz, Henry 1826 - 1906
Kustermann, Gustav 1850 - 1919
Kuypers, John Anton 1869 - 1940

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